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WEST HAM reached a new low with Saturday’s abject performance against a below strength West Bromwich Albion.
The happiest man in the London Stadium was former West Ham, and now, West Brom manager Slaven Bilic. He saw his side — with eight changes, including bringing in veterans Gareth Barry and Charlie Austin — thoroughly outplay a virtually full strength West Ham team.
This despite being reduced to 10 men for the final 20 minutes, when Serni Ajayi was sent off.
The home team began in lacklustre style, taking 40 minutes to get their first shot on target.
It took West Brom just eight minutes to take the lead, the ball rebounding off the West Ham defence to Conor Townsend who drove home from the left-hand corner of the penalty area.
They should have doubled the lead 30 minutes later, when a cross found Austin alone six yards out but the striker headed over.
West Ham’s first effort saw a Declan Rice shot from 20 yards skid wide of the post.
Darren Randolph pulled off a smart save shortly after the restart.
The home team only really woke up about 15 minutes from the end when the penny dropped that they were going out of the cup.
The best effort falling to Mark Noble in the 92nd minute when the ball fell to him in the penalty area but the skipper blasted over.
West Ham manager David Moyes admitted he was hoping to get through without needing to over deploy Noble, Michail Antonio and Angelo Ogbonna, who all came on at half time. “I would have made five substitutions if I could,” said Moyes, who said he’d wanted to give the supporters a cup run.
The returning manager explained that he was finding the same problems as when he took over previously from Bilic in 2017. “We must find something that will give inspiration.”
Bilic was pleased with the maturity of his team’s performance. “We played the system we usually play, “said Bilic, who insisted getting out of the Championship had to remain the priority.
On the plight of West Ham, he insisted that the crowd are crucial. “The players need to do it but the crowd have to help. Now is the time,” said Bilic.
The main concerns for the fans now will be the visit of Liverpool to the London Stadium on Wednesday and whether West Brom will replace them in the Premier League next season.
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